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A Good Heart in the Wrong Place [spoilers]
Posted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:49 am
Letter from Bernhard Boehden to his grandmother, Hildegard Boehden
I hope this letter finds you in good health and spirit.
As mentioned in my last letter, I have now arrived in London, discontinuing my lifestyle on the waves for the time being and trying to find some … sense.
As you know, I did have something of a crisis of faith in my chosen profession a few months ago when I couldn't bring myself to slaughter dolphins or even narwhals any more, which didn't sit too well with my comrades on the Seemannsgarn.
Now, in London, I have gotten in contact with an investigation firm looking for someone with my particular talents. Your grandson's time among people of ill repute finally seems to pay off!
I can hardly list all the things that happened in the last days.
For almost two weeks, I drifted through my days, stayed near the harbour and simply got word out that I was looking for some kind of employment away from the sea.
Nothing happened during the first week, so I resigned myself to keeping my room tidy as you and mother taught me, dressing neatly as grandfather and father showed me, and in the evening trying to get drunk like Uncle Theodor demonstrated. Being a troll has its disadvantages here, though – I cannot in good conscience pay for as much alcohol as would be necessary to drink myself into a stupor, so you can tell Father Sebastian at church little Bernhard is living a better, more sober, life now. Something he might think about when talking about The Lord and his mysterious ways.
Anyway, yesterday I got invited to a posh neighbourhood, meeting some local nobility AND a decidedly prussian lady. Being German AND a troll, I had feared for the worst, but I think it might have been this lady's influence that got me this job. I shall speak to her when time and circumstances allow. Sadly, her being named Mayer will make it hard to find out anything about her for any of your genealogically interested friends.
I don't think anybody at home in Hannover has heard of the Faraday Firm, but they seem like the decent sort. I met an actual Lord there, an aegyptologist, as well as a native man from Alaska! And if you think this was the most interesting thing happening, you are SORELY mistaken. The alaskan man is a magician. He can conjure spirits and talk to spirits that are already there. I was present when he summoned the unquiet spirit of a young man my new colleagues and I are assigned to search for.
Apparently, some serial killer is making his rounds in some of the shadier parts of London these days. Excitement abounds!
The alaskan, a Mister Cusa, afterwards went to a coroner with Lord Carnavon and I to interview a „Hearth Spirit“ about the incident. To cut this letter short, let me just state a few points you might find interesting and leave you anxious for my next letter.
I met an elf receptionist and a trollish doctor here. My group were able to ascertain the whereabouts of the young man's body. And I will spare your however criminally interested mind the details of the victims' deaths for now. Suffice it to say: you will love the shudder down your spine when next I write you.
With a kiss on your cheek and a warm hug,
your grandson Bernd.
Re: A Good Heart in the Wrong Place [spoilers]
Posted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:36 am
Old Cusa sat with the other tribal elders as the dancing continued at the potlatch. Cusa had been out in the dance circle for the traditional dances, but now the younger tribe members were doing American dances and it was time for him to sit. As the elders ate and drank, the conversation flowed over many topics. As the topic turned to dance halls and other houses of entertainment that the elders had known in their youth, Cusa found himself describing the Castile Marie social club. And soon thereafter he was talking about the case of the loup-garou killer in London.
I was very young then, and much taken by the sights and sounds of European things. I listened to the British songs, and danced the British dances. They were not the dances of the people, but still they were better than the god-awful stuff the the young people are dancing now. But the point is that I had this one case that took me to the Castle Marie Social Club. A fascinating hive of scum and villainy... but let me start from the beginning.
We were called in by the Fairaday firm to find a missing young man.His aunt as a well-to-do dwarf (her father had been a quite fashionable milliner in his day). William Barbier had sent a note several days previous mentioning that he would be attending upon his aunt upon the evening of his birthday (his 25th birthday), but had neither appeared, nor sent a follow-up note, nor responded to her own notes. This was quite out of character for him, and his aunt hired the Fairaday firm, and they hired us.
The aunt mentioned that she was worried that maybe he had fallen afoul of the Loup-Garup killer. The killer was the media sensation of the day, killing one or two persons per week, wrenching their victims chest open and extracting organs. Knowing how dangerous London was in those days, and how easy it was to come to trouble, I felt it not unlikely that the young mans problem was of a less sensational nature.
We asked our questions, and learned that the William was a Social butterfly, a good looking young man who dressed fashionably (foppish). The only one of his friends that the aunt could recall was Jack, whom she described as taller, blond, and as having "enthusiastic sideburns". She supplied us with his home address and the name of his favorite hang-put the Castile Marie in Southwark. After the Aunt left, we agreed upon our fee with the Fairaday firm. For this case they were willing to pay each of us 3 pounds per day, plus expenses.
After inquiring and being told that it was thought that all of the Loup-Garup killers victims were being quickly identified, and that it was unlikely that he was laying unidentified on a slab in some morgue, We decided to visit Williams address first. His land-lord (Uncle Barber - old and blind) was very impressed by Lord Carnavon. He said he hand not seen "Sweet William" in 3 or 4 days. He offered to introduce us to his flat-mates, James, Jenny, and Jacks. Talking to them, it quickly became obvious that all 4 of them were members of the Elephant and Castle gang (though they insisted on calling it a Social Organisation). The flat was an E&C perk, having been rented for years longer than any of the current 4 residents had been lodging there. The E&C specialized in gambling and gambling houses.
When they learned that the Aunt had sent us, the flat-mates agreed to cooperate to an extent. They told us that William had been last seen shortly after waking upon Tuesday, 3 days before, but refused to tell us what he had been doing the day he went missing other than to say that he had been planning on performing a task for the E&C. He went to do his task, then disappeared. When the LGK was mentioned, James was dismissive and expressed contempt for the idea that LGK would mess with E&C.
Jack, did mention that when last he saw William, it was for lunch in a tavern, and that he had noticed that 3 or 4 street kids, aged 6 to 8 or so, had caught his attention, but he was unable to put his finger on what exactly it was that had attracted his notice.
Just to test if William was dead, I collected some hair samples, and attempted to summon Sweet William. I most definitely got a dramatic response (a howling, gusts of wind, gas lights blown out, etc.), but the spirit was extraordinarily unsettled and I got nothing other than that a pained and unsettled spirit was answering. We went to the office of the Coroner we knew, and got his permission to summon the hearth spirit we had talked to before, he looked at my hair samples and said that this body was on slab 3B of their storage. We examined the body on that slab, and indeed we recognized the body from the descriptions we had received. The chest had been torn open by main strength and the heart ripped out in a most gruesome manor. Other marks on the body (other than the gaping chest wound) include a sharp impact to the skull from a sap or small club and a number of small impacts and lacerations.
The coroner, questioned about the LGK bodies, said it was "Most fascinating", the chest was always wrenched open through main force. ripped apart, no teeth mark, sometimes there were signs of a stabbing that would break the ribs from the breastbone. Heart always missing. There were signs that it was a Ritual sacrifice, cut skin and bones, then rip ribs apart, grab heart. The perpetrator probably had greater than average strength, possibly the strength typical in a troll. There was discussion of Ancient Nordic ritual of blood eagle, and Lord Caravon speculated about the Cult of best, death magic to power.
We went back to the Fairaday firm to arrange for the Aunt to be notified that her Nephew was dead, and where she could claim the body, but Mrs Kippling and Mr Vern informed us that Madame Bareir (the aunt) had been found dead, killed that afternoon in an obvious case of foul play.
Notes not included in the story. Jenny, sturdy young woman, broad shouldered, surly.
James, shorter, rotund, cheeks, dark hair. Key phrase: remember the firefighters memorial.
why did I have the comment "funny pointed hats, constables"?At the coroners, Mr. Brown, the receptionist (elf). Dr. Sullivan, the coroner (troll)
Re: A Good Heart in the Wrong Place [spoilers]
Posted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 12:57 am
Mr. Burns and Miss Meyer introduced us to a new investigator they had hired, a Miss Chesten Gioyne, a Dwf woman of unfortunate appearance. Her training is in the science of aquatic biology. They asked us to continue to investigate these murders. We got the address of the Aunt's house from the Solicitor's, and asked if their research department could find out if there were any grizzly murders near Bank Hall between the time we were there and now, and if there were, whether they bore any resemblance to the LGK. Obtaining some local newspapers from the area, or perhaps a quick telegram to somebody (a solicitor or a newspaperman in that area) who has already read them should do the trick. A Mr. Greer, the solicitor in charge of their research department agreed to take on that task.
We went to the Aunt's house, in a depressed area of Southwark. We explained our business to the PC at the door, and he said he would let us in, if we could get rid of a reporter that was bugging them. Bernhardt set about boring him until he went away while Miss Gioyne and I entered and went upstairs. The house felt very empty and underutilized. In the upstairs library a small Dwf woman lay in a pool of blood. A Police Inspector allowed us to examine things after we told him what we already knew of the case.
The amazing thing is that this body was not the same woman we had talked to at Fairaday that morning! She was a dwarf of the same size, and the same grey hair in a similar style, and she was dressed in a similar manner, but the facial features were quite different. The blood was from a bashed in head (we found nether a weapon, nor anything missing). The inspector tells us he believes her to have been killed between 9 and 11 this morning, but the body was not found by the cook until tea-time. The windows were open, and we found signs that somebody probably climbed the rose lattice.
I tried questioning the hearth spirit that resided there, but it was sluggish, incurious, knew nothing and cared less.
We questioned the cook and she believes madame did not send a telegram yesterday. She says madame was very concerned about "Sweet William" missing his birthday tea, and believes she posted him a letter or a quick note last night, but does not think she would have considered hiring investigators so soon (she hinted very strongly that she almost certainly could not afford to hire investigators). She said that Madame Bareir does not like to leave her house. She gets lightheaded and feels faint if she tries to go outside. She had a very active correspondence, and friends over for whist every Thursday. But none of her friends are dwarvish women, so whomever impersonated her this morning was not one of them.
So this is the timeline we have come up with: It is very confusing to us.
- William was last seen alive and well Tuesday about noon. There were some children acting strangely there.
- His body was found before dawn the next day. A lump on the head suggests he was knocked out, and perhaps killed later when he was stabbed by a knife in the chest and then his ribs ripped open by hand. He was delivered to the Coroner Wednesday morning, but not identified it until we did so Friday afternoon.
- No other activity Wednesday.
- Thursday teatime, William failed to show up at his Aunts. She was reportedly concerned, and probably sent him a letter or postcard.
- Also Thursday evening, the imposter aunt (or a confederate) sent a telegram or letter to the Fariday agency requesting an appointment that was granted for 10am the next day. Cusa got a telegram from the Fairaday firm Thursday evening. Check when exactly Fariday got notified.
- We arrived at 10am at Fariday. The business part had already been arranged. Find out when exactly the imposter aunt arrived at fariday. The imposter aunt hired Fariday to investigate Williams disappearance. She seems to have paid a very substantial deposit. Find out how much she paid and how (cash? Cheque? Forged Cheque? She knew that William was due to visit aunt. Knew that did not visit aunt. She mentioned the Loup Garou killer, even though that should have been a long shot, but William apparently was killed by LGK. She had lots of money. She paid lots of money for us to look for William.
- The real Aunt was not at Fariday, and probably knew nothing of the meeting there. Probably between 9am and 11am, somebody climbed her rose lattice and bludgend her to death. This might have been done before the imposter arrived at Fariday, or after, but in any case, it was done before we started our investigation.
- Friday early afternoon we found Williams body.
- Friday mid afternoon, cook found Aunts body.
- Why hire us?
- Who hired us?
- Why kill Aunt?
- We have assumed the person who hired us killed the real Aunt. Is that true? If not, who killed real aunt?
- Was Aunt killed because somebody thought she had hired us? (probably not, since she was killed before our investigation started)
- Why not just give fake name and fake address? (ask fariday this) Did they correspond, or attempt to correspond with her at her real address. Nail down times and methods of contact. See if telegrams/post-marks can be traced back to real sender. With hind-sight, does anybody who corresponded or dealt with her have any clue as to real identity or location.
- Was William killed by LGK?
- What is LGK up to?
Re: A Good Heart in the Wrong Place [spoilers]
Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 7:37 pm
I am sending you kisses and a big hug from across the canal and hope this letter finds you, as always, in good health. I have told mother nothing of my escapades here in London yet, just that I am in good health and have found more gainful employment. Please decide for yourself however you would like her to be informed about what I am telling you.
I told you per my last correspondence how my colleagues and I are searching for a young man named William (NOT Wilhelm) and the whole Loup-Garou killer Schlamassel over here.
Imagine my surprise (and the queasy feeling in my stomach) when we indeed found young William's body at the coroner's office. The coroner is, by the way, a learned and quite urbane troll with a doctorate. I think that settles the questions about trolls' supposed intellects you and your Kaffeeklatsch discussed before my last departure.
The Hearth Spirit Mister Cusa talked to led us directly to one of the slabs in the cooled room and we went to investigate the body hidden underneath. You know I am used to gutting game, fish, and whatever animals whales and dolphins are counted as, but seeing a young man ripped from life's bosom the way young William was, is … something else. Now, for your amusement and the aforementioned shiver down your spine, the scene was positively ghastly. Imagine your beloved Edgar Allan Poe describing this scene, or even Mary Shelley.
William Barbier's heart was missing. We could immediately tell because his rib cage had been wrenched open by immense force. As gentlemen, we of course immediately paid our respects to the deceased and spent a quiet moment each on his own. Apparently, young William has indeed fallen victim to the serial killer on the loose in London these days, who goes by the moniker „Loup-Garou killer“ - for his habit of bestially slaughtering people and taking their hearts, no doubt. His aunt's suspicions turned out to have been correct after all!
But wait – there's still more.
When we returned to our employers, the Faraday Law Firm, with these developments, they informed us Mme Barbier had been found dead as well!
We of course made haste to visit the scene of this crime as well and, after some Scharade by your grandson (I haven't forgotten my hours as a stand-in at the theatre after all!), were given access to the house by the attendant police officers (they really do have these funny hats you so often doubt).
Now, for your curious mind, some snippets of info and facts we have on our own hands as I write this:
Mme Barbier was killed, yes. By blunt force to the head, as it seems.
Mme Barbier was not the one who hired the Faraday Law Firm, as her kitchen assistant told us she never left the house in 15 years and wouldn't even have had the funds.
The dwarf woman we had talked to bore a resemblance to the dead woman that would have fooled a casual observer – so she must have had access to at least a likeness of the dead woman to fashion her disguise.
The estimated time of death of the supposedly true Mme Barbier directly corresponded with the time we spoke to the impostor Mme Barbier.
You can imagine how my mind is racing right now. I will, of course, keep you up to date with whatever we may find out next. Hopefully, a solution to all this chaos.
With a kiss on the cheek and a broad trollish grin I remain your grandson,